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A Little Green

LastchildLast night, my wife and I attended a talk by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods."  It was a very interesting lecture on our society's nature deficit disorder.  With my generation, we had the run of the neighborhood.  Every summer day, we'd take off after breakfast, show up for lunch, and then we'd be off again.  There were woods and creeks and hedges and paths and cornfields to explore.  Sometimes, the exploration would take place in my own backyard, but more often than not, it would take place wherever my bicycle and my legs could take me.  He talked about how we hold our kids under "house arrest" and prevent them from experiencing the same level of nature we enjoyed as children.  It was a powerful talk, which made me sad that my children aren't getting the same childhood I enjoyed.

Some of you may be thinking, "Oh great, Tim's gone all environmental on us.  Next he'll be chaining himself to a tree."  (Wishful thinking on your part.)  What really impressed me about Mr. Louv's talk is how much of a systems thinker he is.  This guy gets it when it comes to looking at the results he wants and then backing into the inputs which will get him there.  Whether he's talking about social change or behavioral modification, he impressed me with his deep understanding of cause-and-effect.  For example, he said his goal was not to villify video games.  Yeah, sounds odd for a guy trying to get kids outside, doesn't it?  His reason was simple:  if you make video games the bad guy, then kids will just want to play them more.  Like I said, he understands human behavior.  But even more, he understands the system and how it works.

While his book and talk were directed at getting kids outdoors, what about us cubicle-dwelling big kids?  How often do you schedule a meeting outdoors?  When is the last time you stepped away from you desk to walk around outside and clear your head?  Where was your "special place" when you were a kid?  Can you find a new one and create a healthy second childhood?  Thanks to IowaGoGreen.com for bringing Mr. Louv to Des Moines.


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Mark True


I, like you, had the run of the neighborhood...and our neighborhood was on the edge of undeveloped woods and fields. Sometimes, my brother and I hung out in the woods - I have the barbed-wire-induced leg scar to prove it - and sometimes I played in the tree-filled lot next door to me. When they built the new homes, we'd play army and cars and trucks in the footing channels they dug out (we didn't have full basements in Tennessee).

Today, one of my boys is totally outdoors and the other one is totally nature deprived. We go geocaching to get everybody outside and we're all better for it...especially dad!


Brad Shorr

Tim, You are so right. Simply enjoying the outdoors is one of the main reasons I play golf. My dad introduced me to the game when I was in grade school, and I spent many a summer caddying. It's a wonderful game for kids, a great way to keep them outdoors for hours at a time.


Well, my special place these days is mowing my yard, and that is outside. But, I will be sure to get this book as it is a very interesting topic and one that I would challenge all parents should read.

Timothy Johnson

Mark - one of these days I'll have to tag along on one of your geocaching adventures... sounds like fun

Brad - I loved golf... until I had kids. My clubs have successfully collected eight years of dust on them.

Pete - even mowing can be great therapy, especially for guys like us who manage projects. Great think time.

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